Mrs. Bgddy and I took the tandem out for a spin yesterday and I learned a lot on that ride – I learned that my reasons for getting angry at my wife for not pedaling hard enough are of my own doing. It’s my own fault that I get angry. Talk about an eye-opener…
I’d taken the computer off the tandem and put it on the gravel bike so I was blind as to how fast we were going. I don’t do well not knowing. My default is “we’re not going fast enough”. 20 mph feels like 15, so I’m always on the gas, pushing just a little harder than my wife.
We started out a little fast, 18-19 mph into a bit of a breeze and I was doing my normal “push harder than my wife”. We were doing well, up at the front of the group for ten of the first fourteen miles. It was on the twelfth mile that I started feeling the effects of my effort. I am a rare bird when it comes to cycling. I pay attention to the smallest detail, an attribute gained because I write this blog, so I can write about it later. As my energy level dropped I decided I probably didn’t have to push so hard on the pedals, that I could even out the pushing on the pedals just a little bit. So when I laid off just a little bit, so did my wife. Now, as I’m getting tired, this is usually the point where I freak the f*** out. I didn’t though. I paid attention. I pedaled harder, and my wife responded. I laid off, and so did she… That’s when I realized that she’s gauging how hard to pedal based on my over-effort. She’s expecting a certain feel on the pedals… and my extra effort was being interpreted as my “normal” effort. We made a go for the Byron City Limits sign but Mike pipped us, smiling, by a half a bike length. Such is the life of a tandem couple.
We pulled into the local gas station to use the restroom and I used the break to devour the banana I had stowed in my back pocket. I decided to change how I attacked the second half of the ride as I was taking a swig of water.
We got after it. This time I gave it a sustainable effort rather than hammering it to get up to speed. It’s hard to put it into writing, but when you’re on a tandem you can feel how hard your partner is pushing on the pedals, so when I’m pushing too hard I can feel it’s just not right. On the other hand, I can also tell when I’m doing it right, when we’re working together as a team. Three or four miles later it was like the cartoon lightbulb over my cycling helmet… My problems with my wife, are my own doing. “Fault” is too strong a word, really. “My own doing” is better, technically correct. I explained to my wife what I’d learned and, as one could imagine, she was pretty excited at hearing the news.
The rest of the ride was freaking amazing. We kept our speed up and I didn’t over-cook myself. We’re going to be much better on the tandem this year. From wamer times: